Comparing Two Multi-Criteria Methods for Prioritizing Wetland Restoration and Creation Sites Based on Ecological, Biophysical and Socio-Economic Factors
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Wetland restoration has been recognized as a useful tool for improving water quality. Many studies have focused on developing strategies and models to optimize wetland performance. However, some important wetland placement characteristics have not been taken into account. In this research and unlike other studies, we included the social aspect (availability of public lands) as a fundamental factor to locate wetlands. Thus, environmental, biophysical and socio-economic factors were integrated through the comparison of two multi-criteria methods (a suitability model and a greedy algorithm). With nitrate removal as the main goal, the suitability model was applied considering the “terrain slope”, “proximity to watercourses” and “soil permeability”. The greedy algorithm was executed based on the “availability of public lands” and the “wetland restoration project costs”. These factors were chosen based on the Eu Life-CREAMAgua Flumen River project, which was carried out previously in the study area. Both the suitability model and the greedy algorithm provided critical information for siting a wetland and demonstrated the effectiveness of both approaches. By means of this study, we present highly applicable results as they are based on a real project (Eu Life-CREAMAgua Flumen River project), besides proposing and using the social factor as an innovative approach for the wetlands siting. This research and its possible adaptations can be used by decision makers to improve water quality using social and economic criteria, resulting in the efficient implementation of ecological-restoration projects.
KeywordsWetlands Nitrate removal Environmental planning Watershed management Multi-criteria GIS
This study is part of the European Project Life09 ENV/ES/000431 CREAMAgua, which is coordinated and led by Comarca de Los Monegros-Aragón. We also thank the project’s partners: Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro, KV Consultores and Tragsa, IEM and FJDM. We are also very appreciative of M. García and A. Barcos for their laboratory assistance.
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